Asian Spirits Complement Bob Ramen Menu

When Patrick Miceli and Chris Parrott announced plans to expand their Bob Ramen brand to Plainville, the partners — who first teamed up to open the Little River Restoratives cocktail bar in Hartford — promised a "very fun" beverage program with sake. Plainville's location benefits from a full bar and expanded seating.

"We thought, 'Wouldn't it be fun to do a fun bar program that incorporated sake into drink templates that we might mess with at Little River?'" Parrott said.

Their new "rock & roll ramen" home opened Jan. 27, taking the place of Miceli's four-year-old neighborhood bistro 50 West. Plainville's bar menu features six specialty sake and shochu-based cocktails to complement the Japanese noodle soups, rice bowls and small plates with unique Asian flavors.

"These are traditional Asian spirits, done in a very approachable mixological style," Parrott said. "We wanted people to embrace those types of spirits, because they're very food-friendly and clean as well."

The Tokyo Maid, with Junmai sake, lemon, sugar, cucumber and mint, is a best-seller, as is the gin-and-shochu based Far East Bramble with lemon and creme de cassis, served almost snow-cone style over shaved ice. The Vernita Green has both shochu and sparkling sake, with lemon and matcha, and others feature sake with vodka and mango, Americano and citrus bitters, pear brandy and Earl Grey. All cocktails are $9.

Guests have been open and receptive to the selection of sakes, including flavored styles from an Oregon producer, Parrott said.

"We sell a lot more sake than I thought we would. So now I have to go back and re-evaluate now how far we can really go with this stuff, because no one's batted an eye at what we're doing so far."

Bob Ramen aims to make good use of 50 West's patio space in warm weather. Parrott has ideas for Sapporo-based shandies, with lemon, yuzu and grapefruit liqueur, and he hints that a slushie machine may join the mix for summer.

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